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Running lights location

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Pascal, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I was watching the second Imoca crossing the line in the Vendee Globe last night and noticed his red and green running lights being located on the stern. This means they are almost invisible to another vessel right off the bow... especially in heavy seas

    There has been few shots of the mast in the broadcast but so far I haven’t seen any lights up there. This doesn’t make any sense and could explain why these guys are sometimes involved in collisions like Boris Herrmann last night just 90 miles from the finish.

    I know lights are regulated in the COLREGs but can’t help wondering if this a European thing

    D1B98118-8829-452A-B556-97156F047E88.jpeg
    .
  2. BRyachts

    BRyachts Member

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    I'm pretty sure the law reads something along the lines of the "forward portion of the vessel". On some new build motoryachts I've mounted them on wings/flats on the mast/arch about midships and never had an issue. Being seen is one issue, but just as big is to keep the glare/light away from the pilothouse to help watchstanders visibility outward.
  3. menkes

    menkes Member

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    I guess they have a set on the mast so they can seen for long distances in the open sea.
    At the entrance to crowded areas, moorings, etc., they change to a low position which is seen better in closed areas
    I had this arrangement on my yachts for many years sailing in the med .
    I still have it on the current yacht
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Having the lights forward of mid-ship generally makes the most sense (lets you know where the bow is), but that's not the law. It simply must be visible for the appropriate # of degrees, forming a full circle with the stern light. On many ships with an aft house you'll find them aft. With these sailboats, especially single handed racers, having them aft makes it easier for the helmsperson to know they're lit and easier to change a bulb if they're not.
  5. d_meister

    d_meister Senior Member

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    A lot has to do with night vision while operating. A Swan sailing yacht that I ran had the port and starboard lights in the forward pulpit. The green light was a real problem for night vision as it reflected off the stainless and any whitewater, even small whitecaps. What really compounds the problem is that your eye level is near the same height as the light, and the reflection comes right back to you.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I do wish people who design boats would spend more time running them. Between helm lights shining back from laid back windshields and nav lights washing out the view there's been too many times I'd have loved to meet the designer (in a dark alley).
  7. BRyachts

    BRyachts Member

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    I've designed a number of megayacht helms and it's not that simple.
    -You're given a hull design by the owner
    -You're given a helm furniture (dash) design by the interior decorator
    -You're given a list of components that has to fit and work in a given space
    -And about that time the shipyard is hounding you saying you're delaying the construction because you haven't turned in a layout yet, and you only got access to the CAD guy yesterday.
    -Oh, and by the way, your already over budget, and the shipyard is just begging for a change order so they can overcharge the owner for something, but more importantly add precious days to the build contract, and you'll get blamed for it.
    -And yes, you STILL have be be the center piece display at the next Ft Laud Boat Show!! The reputation of the owner, shipyard and the jobs of hundreds of shipyard workers are counting on you. No pressure.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2021
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Totally understand. My hat's off to people who can put huge projects together and keep them all in line. I don't work well with others, lol, so I prefer smaller projects where I can watch it all. Nothing frustrates me more than people who pass the buck, justified or not. The helm is a pretty critical part though, and sometimes some people just have to be told their ideas won't work. Interfering with the captain's view is one of those times.
  9. wcoaster

    wcoaster New Member

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    46 CFR 111.75-17
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I don't think that citation is on point to the OP's concern, but found it very interesting especially the part about duplicate light sources. Not sure I understand that, but was never very good at government speak.
  11. AnotherKen

    AnotherKen Member

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    This is a good point and it's probably why the racers only have lights mounted aft. I do know that red light is considered to be less likely to interfere with night vision, but I have not tested that on water. Red light is recommended in the city because it also is less disturbing to people so it tends not to keep them from sleeping.
  12. MountainGuy

    MountainGuy Member

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    If the widest point of the boat is at the stern, lights are visible from the front and there is no glare for the captain.
  13. AnotherKen

    AnotherKen Member

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    True but most boats I have seen are widest somewhere between bow and stern. I wonder if anyone ever put their running lights up in the rigging with shades below them to prevent their light being seen from the deck, but still visible at a distance.
  14. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Not uncommon, but when the lights are on the mast the lights are well above eye level. I think the placement of the lights in the pic is so another boat will know where his stern is if he crosses their bow to cut off their wind. Not like they give each other a wide birth.
  15. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    These Imocas have outriggers amidship to hold the stays, that would be a great spot for running lights. Even though they don’t taper much at the stern, that’s not the widest point
  16. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    These are not most boats.
    The Annex and design exceptions allow for non standard placement of lights for special circumstances and certain vessels.
    I am sure some flag, some rule, some higher than standard did allow for some special application to apply; Navigation lights towards astern so the sleeping single operator is not bothered in his dreams.
    I do not recall any exception anywhere for failure for proper look out.
    This has been threaded a few times before......
  17. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    I now wonder;
    What waters was this collision in?
    What color was the run-a-way (No operator or watch) race boat showing to the fishing boat?
    Who is going to enforce any infraction of high seas law?

    Luck for the ships these ding bats have fouled up, no innocent lives have been lost,, yet..
  18. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    If you'll notice the lights aren't on the hull, but instead raised above the level of the deck so the light can be seen forward and the arc is complete.
  19. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    The stern of these boats is pretty low so in heavy seas they would be hard to spot especially with the outriggers and foils getting in the way.

    not the first time it s happened. And on the way back, many of them had a power issue being low of fuel, having a dead engine, or hydro generators barely keeping up. 80 days at sea takes a toll
  20. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    happened in the bay of Biscay about 100nm off the French coast. Boris was about to finish the race, day 80 or so, and was taking a nap with his AIS, proximity and other alarms on... it takes two to collide and either the fishing vessel didn’t see him because the lights were not visible or they didn’t have someone on watch either. Who knows...